Long Beach, California. Oct. 18, 2023 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that the two spacecraft the Company is building for NASA’s Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission have entered the system integration phase in preparation for a planned launch in 2024.

The ESCAPADE mission, led by Dr. Rob Lillis at the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL), is a twin-spacecraft science mission that will orbit Mars to investigate the structure, composition, variability, and dynamics of Mars' unique hybrid magnetosphere. The mission will explore how the solar wind strips atmosphere away from Mars to better understand how its climate has changed over time. Each spacecraft will carry an instrument suite that includes a magnetometer for measuring magnetic field, an electrostatic analyzer to measure ions and electrons, and a Langmuir probe for measuring plasma density and solar extreme ultraviolet flux.

To ensure that the two spacecraft are ready for the harsh environment of space and their roughly 230-million-mile journey to the red planet, the Rocket Lab Space Systems team has successfully passed System Integration Review (SIR) and is proceeding with integration of the flight hardware in preparation for launch. Integration includes both the spacecraft bus with Rocket Lab-manufactured solar arrays, reaction wheels, star trackers, separation systems, radios, and flight software and the flight instruments being delivered from UCB and other mission partners. In addition to a battery of functional tests to verify performance, the spacecraft are undergoing a full environmental test campaign, including vibration, thermal vacuum, and electromagnetic compatibility testing. The Company has also concluded RF compatibility testing with NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which will communicate with Rocket Lab’s Frontier-X radios on both spacecraft and provide navigation services to the mission.

“Reaching the flight integration phase for a new spacecraft is a significant milestone, especially for a complex interplanetary mission like this,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Building on the successful delivery of a spacecraft to lunar orbit for NASA last year, it's a privilege to be developing a spacecraft headed for deep space to perform Decadal-class science with our partners at UC Berkeley.”

The ESCAPADE spacecraft integration and test is taking place at Rocket Lab’s advanced spacecraft development and manufacturing complex within the Company’s Long Beach headquarters. The facility includes a 12,000 sq. ft. cleanroom and 40,000 sq. ft. of production & test facilities designed to support constellation class manufacturing and satellite assembly, integration and test for commercial, civil and national security customers.

ESCAPADE is being developed under NASA’s Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program in the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and is the first Heliophysics mission to another planet. The mission is led by the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) with spacecraft provided by Rocket Lab. The two spacecraft are planned for launch in 2024 to low Earth orbit aboard a Blue Origin New Glenn launch vehicle provided by NASA. Rocket Lab’s spacecraft will then perform the Mars transfer from Earth orbit, 11-month cruise to Mars, and Mars orbit insertion before achieving a “string of pearls” orbit formation in advance of the science phase beginning in 2026.

Source: Rocket Lab

Mahia, New Zealand. May 8, 2023 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today successfully completed the first of two dedicated Electron launches to deploy a constellation of tropical cyclone monitoring satellites for NASA.

The ‘Rocket Like a Hurricane’ launch lifted-off on May 8 at 13:00 NZST (01:00 UTC) from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula deploying two of the four CubeSats that comprise the TROPICS constellation (Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats). TROPICS will monitor the formation and evolution of tropical cyclones, including hurricanes, and will provide rapidly updating observations of storm intensity.

The constellation, which is part of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, requires launch to 550 kilometers altitude and inclination of about 30 degrees. Each pair of CubeSats must be launched to two specific orbital planes that are equally spaced 180 degrees opposite to maximize the temporal resolution. These unique orbits over Earth’s tropics allow the satellites to travel over any given storm about once an hour compared with current weather tracking satellites that have a timing of about once every six hours. This high revisit rate aims to help scientists better understand the processes that effect these high-impact storms, ultimately leading to improved modelling and prediction to help protect lives and livelihoods. All four TROPICS satellites need to be deployed into their operational orbit within a 60-day period, a mission requirement made possible with small dedicated launch. With the first batch of TROPICS CubeSats now in orbit, the second launch, called ‘Coming to a Storm Near You,’ is expected to launch on another Electron rocket in approximately two weeks from Launch Complex 1.

“The TROPICS constellation has the real potential to save lives by providing more timely data about storm intensity and providing advance warning to those in storm paths, so it’s an immense privilege to have deployed these spacecraft to their precise orbits before the upcoming storm season,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “We’re grateful to the NASA team for entrusting us with such a critical mission and we look forward to completing the constellation with the second Electron launch in the coming days.”

“We are extremely proud of all our partners, including MIT Lincoln Labs, Blue Canyon Technologies, KSAT, and Rocket Lab for successfully executing on this first launch. We look forward to the entire constellation being on-orbit to realize the benefits for the agency, as well as for our colleagues around the world.” said Ben Kim, TROPICS program executive for NASA’s Earth Science Division.

‘Rocket Like a Hurricane’ was Rocket Lab’s fourth mission for 2023 and the Company’s 36th Electron mission overall. It brings the total number of satellites launched to orbit by Rocket Lab to 161.

Source: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has secured a multi-launch deal for a rapid succession of four Electron missions for Capella Space, an American space tech company and the world’s leading provider of commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

Scheduled for launch beginning in the second half of 2023, each Electron mission will deploy a single SAR Earth-imaging Acadia satellite, a new generation satellite designed, manufactured, and operated by Capella Space, to low Earth orbit. These missions, scheduled to launch in quick succession, will follow an existing launch on the Rocket Lab manifest for Capella Space, the “Stronger Together” mission which is scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, Virginia in March 2023. Capella Space is a returning customer to Electron, with Rocket Lab having launched a dedicated mission for the SAR company in August 2020.

The multi-rocket launch commitment demonstrates Rocket Lab’s proven ability to deliver streamlined access to space and allows Capella to meet growing customer demand for Capella SAR technology that can gather miages 24/7 and through clouds or darkness.

Rocket Lab CEO and founder, Peter Beck, says: “We delivered mission success for Capella in our first mission for them in 2020 and now we’re thrilled they’ve entrusted us with a further five missions to help expand their growing SAR constellation. We’re proud to provide the team at Capella with a reliable ride to space, combined with the flexibility of two launch sites in different hemispheres to enable flexibility and responsiveness.”

Capella Space CEO and founder, Payam Banazadeh, says: “We are experiencing increased market demand for our highest-quality SAR data, and this announcement underscores Capella’s strong commitment to our global customers across the defence and intelligence and commercial markets. We are excited for the multiple launches with Rocket Lab, including the introduction of our new generation Acadia satellite technology, to further enhance our market-leading capabilities of high-frequency, best quality SAR imagery with the fastest order-to-delivery speeds of any commercial SAR provider.”

The four newly-signed missions are planned to lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand – however, Rocket Lab has provided Capella Space with the flexibility to move any of the missions to Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, Virginia if required as the mission campaigns progress in order to meet optimum customer and mission requirements. By operating three orbital launch pads across two continents, Rocket Lab’s responsive and flexible launch solution enables assured access to orbit for Capella Space to quickly and reliably increase their constellation’s capacity and orbital diversity to meet growing demands for its SAR imagery and analysis.

In addition to providing the launch service, each Capella Space mission will feature separation systems produced by Rocket Lab in line with the Company’s vertical integration strategy.

Capella Space joins a growing list of commercial constellation operators who have entrusted Rocket Lab to deploy their spacecraft to precise orbits on dependable schedules including: BlackSky Global, Hawkeye 360, Synspective, Kineis, Planet, Spire, Fleet Space and more. Kineis is scheduled to begin late 2023.


Capella Space is an American space tech company with data and satellite solutions for government and commercial use. A pioneer in the Earth observation industry, Capella is the first U.S. company with a constellation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites, delivering the best quality, highest resolution SAR imagery commercially available. Capella provides easy access to frequent and timely information affecting dozens of industries worldwide, including defense and intelligence, supply chain, insurance, maritime and others. Its market-leading SAR satellites are matched with unparalleled data infrastructure to quickly deliver reliable global insights that sharpen our understanding of the changing world – improving decisions about commerce, conservation, and security on Earth. Headquartered in San Francisco, California with additional locations in Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C., Capella's satellites are operated, designed, and manufactured in the USA.

Source: Rocket Lab

Long Beach, California. February 28, 2023 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it is preparing to launch two dedicated missions in March from the Company’s launch sites in the United States and New Zealand - within days of each other.

One Electron rocket is ready and in position at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand to deploy satellites for Spaceflight Inc. customer BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY), a real-time geospatial intelligence company. Meanwhile, a second rocket is simultaneously undergoing final launch preparations at Launch Complex 2 in Virginia to deploy satellites for American space tech company Capella Space, the world’s leading provider of commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

Both launches are scheduled to take place in March with the launch windows to be finalized based on individual customer and range requirements; however, both missions are expected to launch within days of each other. Capella Space’s two satellites have been integrated to Electron at Launch Complex 2 and are ready for launch, while BlackSky’s two satellites are undergoing final check outs before integration to Electron at Launch Complex 1. Rocket Lab has also completed a Wet Dress Rehearsal at Launch Complex 2 and the mission is now awaiting range clearances from NASA and the FAA to proceed with launch. Meanwhile, Launch Complex 1’s Wet Dress Rehearsal is scheduled to take place in the coming days.

Running simultaneous launch campaigns across two continents once again demonstrates Rocket Lab’s ability to deliver responsive and flexible launch solutions to the small satellite market. The upcoming missions are expected to best Rocket Lab’s previous launch turnaround record set at Launch Complex 1 in 2022 when Rocket Lab launched the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA followed by a dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office 15 days later.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “The ability to run simultaneous launch campaigns and deliver a rapid launch cadence is exactly what Electron and our launch sites were built for. We’re dedicated to serving the responsive space needs of our customers across commercial and government space. It’s not a capability we’re promising in the future, it’s a reality that we’re delivering on right now.”

About the Capella Space Launch

Rocket Lab will deliver to orbit two SAR satellites for San Francisco-based Capella Space. Capella provides the best quality, high resolution SAR imagery to customers globally for a wide range of government and commercial applications. The “Stronger Together” mission carrying Capella Space’s two 100-kg class satellites will expand Capella’s existing SAR constellation, increasing imaging capacity to meet growing customer demand. Capella Space delivers the highest quality, highest resolution SAR imagery commercially available with the fastest order-to-delivery time, empowering organizations across the public and private sector to make informed, accurate decisions. Its satellite imaging technology can penetrate all weather conditions and capture clear imagery 24-7, day and night, delivering accurate and timely data about what is happening across the Earth at any given moment. With this latest launch into low Earth orbit, Capella Space will expand its market-leading SAR satellite constellation in response to increased customer demand for SAR data.

Rocket Lab has delivered a Capella satellite to space previously on the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical” mission in August 2020. Supporting Rocket Lab’s vertical integration strategy, Rocket Lab will also supply Capella Space with two of the Company’s own Motorized Lightbands; separation systems designed to separate the Capella satellites from Electron once in orbit.

About the BlackSky Launch

Rocket Lab will deliver to orbit two Earth-imaging satellites for BlackSky through global launch services provider Spaceflight, Inc. “The Beat Goes On” mission will deliver BlackSky’s high-resolution Gen-2 satellites to low Earth, adding capacity to the company’s real-time geospatial intelligence and monitoring capabilities. BlackSky delivers on-demand, high-frequency imagery, monitoring, and analytics of the most critical and strategic locations, economic assets, and events in the world.

“The Beat Goes On” is the final mission of a multi-launch agreement with launch services provider, Spaceflight, Inc., who managed the integration and launch services for BlackSky. As part of the agreement, Blacksky satellites have been launched on five previous Electron missions since 2021. Rocket Lab also delivered two BlackSky satellites to orbit prior to 2021, bringing the total number of BlackSky satellites deployed to orbit by Electron to nine.

Rocket Lab is also expecting to conduct a marine recovery operation for this mission to return the Electron first stage to its manufacturing facilities after launch.

Source: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today released two new high-performance space systems products designed to increase the availability of essential satellite components to the global small satellite market. Bolstering the Company’s existing line of proven satellite components, the new Rocket Lab products include the Frontier-X software defined radio designed to provide high speed data for both near Earth and deep space small satellite missions, as well as a new 12Nms reaction wheel designed specifically for constellation class satellites.

The products join Rocket Lab’s existing heritage space systems components including star trackers, reaction wheels, separation systems, radios, flight software, ground software, and solar power solutions. Combined, Rocket Lab’s space systems components have supported more than 1,700 space missions to date.

Enabling Small Sat Deep Space Missions With Frontier-X Satellite Radio

Rocket Lab’s new Frontier-X radio is a high-speed, X-band ranging RF transceiver designed to expand the reach of small satellites beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) to cislunar and deep space destinations as well as provide an affordable alternative for mission payload downlink at LEO.

The Rocket Lab Frontier-X radio joins the Frontier-S ranging RF transceiver in bringing advanced functionality not typically available in affordable software-defined radios. This includes a coherent transponder to enable radiometric navigation methods, precision timekeeping functions, turbo and convolutional encoding compliant with recommended standards by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), and a hardware-based critical command decoder (CCD). The X-band radio packs Deep Space Network (DSN) waveforms, two-way doppler and regenerative ranging, beacon modes, and low baud rates enabled by low power digital signal processing (DSP) in a low mass solution. The Fronter-X radio has the durability to survive in high radiation environments beyond Earth orbit, including to geostationary orbit (GEO) and deep space.

Rocket Lab’s Frontier radios are based on the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL) Frontier Radio and backed by proven flight heritage, having successfully flown the Frontier-S on the Company’s Photon spacecraft, a Rocket Lab designed and launched spacecraft that deployed the CAPSTONE satellite to the Moon for NASA. The Frontier-X radio has completed qualification, is slated to fly on NASA’s Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission to Mars, for which Rocket Lab is developing and building two spacecraft. Frontier-X is available for order now with production taking place at Rocket Lab’s headquarters in Long Beach.

Reliable In-Space Attitude Control with Latest Constellation-Class Reaction Wheel.

Building upon strong space heritage and extensive experience across decades of reaction wheel production with Sinclair Interplanetary by Rocket Lab, the new 12Nms reaction wheel has been developed to expand attitude control solutions that already include reaction wheels ranging from 10mNms to 1Nms and high-performance star trackers.

Rocket Lab’s 12Nms reaction wheel, designed for long-life and reliability, is ideal for attitude control of spacecraft with masses as high as 600-650 kg and lifetimes as long as 12 years. With its low mass, power, and volume, the 12Nms reaction wheel caters to high mission assurance civil or national security missions as well as high volume constellation missions. The 12Nms wheel comes in a radiation hardened variant for longer life and a LEO variant for shorter lifetime missions. The 12Nms wheel is currently planned for flight with an undisclosed large mega constellation customer.

Rocket Lab’s reaction wheels have been used in more than 100 satellites to date for missions and constellations focused on remote sensing, communications, science, technology demonstrations, and more. The 12Nms reaction wheel is under production and available immediately.

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 155 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia.

Source: Rocket Lab